Institutional Diversity Statement
Diversity is Part of Our Mission
Our goal is to provide high quality, student-centered education that prepares a diverse community of learners to contribute responsibly and creatively to a global society, and serve as a resource to advance the region’s cultural, social and economic development. In support of this goal, we will strive to capture all aspects of diversity, increase the diversity within our campus community, and create a welcoming environment to encourage this diversity.
Diversity is Part of Our History
Diversity at Salem State University is rooted in a long tradition of creating an inclusive and affirming community in which all students, staff, faculty, administrators, alumni, and friends of the university feel welcomed, valued, and appreciated for their unique contributions and talents. Historically, Salem State has not only educated a diverse population of students in Massachusetts but has also contributed to our nation’s struggle for equality and enlightenment. Charlotte Forten, Salem State’s first African-American student and a graduate of the class of 1856, was the first African-American teacher to journey south during the Civil War to teach freed slaves on the Sea Islands off the coast of South Carolina. We acknowledge the lessons that history teaches us about diversity, including the cost of exclusivity and the benefit of inclusivity. At Salem State University, we continue to learn from history and work to use the lessons of the past to change the future. This is done by recognizing and, to whatever extent possible, promoting resolution of the effects of past societal discrimination as well as the impact that discrimination has had, not only on the victims of such discrimination, but also on academic, institutional, and societal systems as well. As such, Salem State University is dedicated to identifying and removing organizational barriers within our institution that prevent us from increasing, appreciating, and cultivating diversity among all of our community members.
Diversity is Part of Our Community
Salem State University values, celebrates and appreciates diversity in all its forms. Salem State University enjoys a campus community populated with students, faculty, and staff from a wide range of races and ethnicities, cultures, political and social worldviews, religious and spiritual beliefs and practices, language and geographic characteristics, gender identities and expressions, sexual orientations, learning and physical abilities, ages, social and economic classes, and national origins. Salem State University provides an experience where the community can feel supported while they explore, learn, and celebrate their identities, similarities, and differences.
The diversity within our university community is a reflection of our state and national diversity. Massachusetts is steadily becoming more diverse, particularly among those who are under 18 years of age–many of whom may become our future students. As such, Salem State University must continue to create an environment that is responsive to the increasing diversity of our region, which includes diversifying community members to reflect and speak to our student population. Salem State University will continue to build and strengthen relationships where friends and partners of the university value diversity and appreciate what our students have to offer.
Diversity is Part of Our Academics
By welcoming multiple and varied voices to our community and affirming the unique perspectives they provide, Salem State University provides a learning environment that promotes a mutual respect and understanding of differences, and appreciation of similarities, which are indispensable for a rich educational experience and free exchange of ideas. With a diversity of disciplines, faculty from around the state and world, and courses that address cultural differences, Salem State provides students an opportunity to learn together, from and about each other and our larger world. As employers continue to seek individuals with an exceptional foundation in cultural competence, we know that our students will be prepared through the course offerings and pedagogical practices of our faculty to succeed in our global economy.
Diversity is Part of Our Future
While we are proud of our commitment to diversity, we understand that being truly inclusive means being responsive to the transformative nature of this diversity. Engaging in reflection and nurturing relationships through differing opinions allows us to foster an ever expanding awareness. Diversity is complex and challenging to understand. As such, we know that our statement on diversity must remain fluid in order for Salem State University to progress as a learning institution. Furthermore, we acknowledge that although we may not be able to fully capture all facets of diversity given our ever-evolving global community, we are driven and determined to embrace and appreciate the qualities that distinguish us as individuals while uniting us as a community. Our vision is to continue to remain strategic as we strive for inclusive excellence, challenging ourselves to step outside of our comfort zones to a place in which maximum learning and personal development can occur.